Picnic in Conques Over the Hohturli Pass |  <i>Jon Millen</i> Walking to Montalcino
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Top 5 Walks in Europe: As Chosen By A Guide

Our UK walking guide, John, lists his Top 5 walking experiences in Europe

To many, Jon Millen (pictured below) has one of the best jobs in the world. For over 20 years he has scaled Europe’s most spectacular, popular, and off-the-beaten-track trails researching new walking trips and updating route notes. 

So, what are his five favourite walks in Europe? We asked him.


Local characters |  <i>John Millen</i> Candelabra statue above Sauges on the Way of St James |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Descending from Col de Torrent on the Alpine Pass Route in Switzerland |  <i>John Millen</i> Walkers on the Coast to Coast trail, England Farm near Crans-Montana Grasmere Bridge provides a picturesque rest stop on the Coast to Coast Trail |  <i>John Millen</i>

1. Switzerland: The Alpine Pass Route

On the way to the Matterhorn, Switzerland |  <i>Carol Gorgie</i>

This sensational walk cuts right through the highland heart of Switzerland. There is some tough walking but you are compensated by incredible views and comfortable accommodations at the end of the day.

The flowers in July especially are amazing and it is always novel watching local farmers often using hand tools: rakes and scythes, to cut the hay in the smaller fields. There are aspects of the trip which are more like a mountain journey rather than a walk, so only the fit need apply!

The Alpine Pass Route is available as a guided or self guided walk.


2. France: Walking in Haute Provence

Above Lac de Sainte Croix

This walk has been a staple trip for me since 1997 when I first escorted a group of Australians there!

The weather has generally been beaut providing luminous skies, clear long views and it has been interesting to see how the villages have changed over time. This is a trip of scenic contrasts, cultural and historic interests and impressive natural features. It is also highly photogenic!

The self guided Walking in Haute Provence holiday along small mountains and big gorges departs daily between 1 May and 30 September.


3. France: The Way of St James

The pilgrim town of Espalion on the Le Puy Camino |  <i>Rob Mills</i>

Part of the longer Camino de Compostela, this beautiful walk in France is an entity unto itself.

Le Puy and Conques were points of pilgrimage in themselves and are simply beautiful places that everyone must experience once. Again it’s the journey feel to the trip I love. I was surprised how the landscape unfolded like a map each day: rolling hills, sweeping valleys, forests, and high moor.

The walk ‘joins the dots’ alighting at points which were there for pilgrims 500-1000 years ago.


4. England: The Coast to Coast

Discover England's iconic walking trail, the Coast to Coast. Learn more about the famous Coast to Coast trail and how you can explore it: https://www.utracks.com/United-Kingdom-Regions/Coast-to-Coast View all England trips: https://www.utracks.com/United-Kingdom-Regions/England View all UTracks trips: https://www.utracks.com/advanced-search  #CoastToCoast #UTracksTravel #England  About England's Coast to Coast Trail  Devised by renowned walker and writer Alfred #Wainwright in 1973, the Coast to Coast Walk is the most famous long-distance trail in the UK. At 315km or 195 miles, the Coast to Coast Walk uses a network of public footpaths tracks, permissive paths and access land to cross England’s huge variety of landscapes, terrain, villages and three unique national parks – the #LakeDistrict, #YorkshireDales and #NorthYorkMoors.  Walkers are encouraged to dip their boots in the #IrishSea the before setting off and in the #NorthSea at the end of the trail.  Starting in the tiny Cumbrian seaside village of #StBees, the trail climbs steeply into the Lake District National Park, home to spectacular lake and mountain scenery, before crossing classic rolling farmland, the Pennine Hills and the mystical cairns atop Nine Standards Rigg.  Follow the beautiful River Swale to the historic market town of Richmond before leaving the Yorkshire Dales to cross the low-lying Vale of Mowbray and linking up with the North York Moors National Park. From here the trail undulates spectacularly before depositing you at Robin Hood's Bay.  As you make your way across the Coast to Coast trail on foot or by bike, enjoy staying in specially handpicked hotels, guesthouses and pubs, where you’ll come to appreciate just how much a full English breakfast will set you up for a long day of walking or cycling.  Because of the popularity of this trail, people often fall into the trap of thinking that it is easy. However, our trips on the Coast to Coast trail are amongst our most challenging but rewarding tours in Europe.  Experience the diversity of England by choosing a guided or self guided walking or cycling trip on the Coast to Coast #trail.  About UTracks Active Travel  #UTracks have over 450 trips across the active #travel spectrum: from relaxed cycling in the Loire Valley, to discovering iconic Camino trails, to challenging hikes around Mont Blanc.   #Walking or #cycling, 2-star or 4-star, small group or self guided, land, river or sea - UTracks can help you explore Europe exactly the way you want. Learn more at https://www.utracks.com/  Stay in touch with UTracks: https://instagram.com/utrackstravel https://twitter.com/UTracks_Travel https://www.facebook.com/UTracks https://www.pinterest.com.au/utracks/ https://www.utracks.com/blog https://www.youtube.com/user/UTracksTravel  Thanks to Tim Charody and Elsewhere Productions http://elsewhereproductions.com/

Being English, how could I leave this walk in Europe off the list? The Coast to Coast is another mountain journey par excellence.

Wainwright’s classic is in my mind a masterpiece, which keeps a lot of the smaller villages that you’ll visit alive. In reasonable weather, there is a huge variety of scenery and although we do not have time zones in the UK you cross through about seven beer zones as the different breweries become more prominent in the different locations!

There is a camaraderie and sense of achievement on this tour which few walks will have. You might not have the three National Parks to yourself, but you can go for long periods without seeing a soul.Walk it all, cycle it or try a smaller section - view the complete range of trips along the Coast to Coast.


5. Italy: Walking in Tuscany

A farmstay is part of the experience when walking the Via Francigena in Tuscany |  <i>Tim Charody</i>

The tougher of our central Tuscan walks, on this tour you can feel how merchants and soldiers would have walked between the medieval hill towns, many remarkably well preserved.

There is normally a lot of exposure to sun on this trip as you are walking on the high ‘cretes’ or chalky ridges, but once you have sorted that with the right hat and clothing, things are fine.

The hill towns are of course fascinating, but equally as interesting are coming across tiny chapels and vineyards. The views are sweeping, and if you can afford the Brunello wines, get one, they are to die for.  Discover our entire range of active holidays in Tuscany.

 


>> View all of UTracks' walking tours in Europe.

>> Join UTracks' Active Travel Community.

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